Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

Einstein’s Last Thought Experiment

Well it’s been more than two months since my last column and for lack of a better excuse, I’m blaming it mostly on the fact that things have been stressful at work lately and I don’t have a Therapy Dog.  As we all know,  Therapy Dogs are specially trained to provide comfort to a wide range of people these days including shut-ins, sick people,  disaster survivors and accountants.  When things just get too tough, a therapy dog is there to well…mostly just be there, and maybe lick your face once in awhile.

It’s a tough job and not all dogs are up for the task, given the long list of characteristics of a good Therapy Dog.  You can check them (the characteristics) out if you want, but basically a Therapy Dog has to be friendly, tolerant, confident, mature, healthy, self-controlled and focused.

My dog Mickey is a good boy, but he would make a lousy Therapy Dog; he falls a bit short in the focus department.  For example when we’re out playing fetch, he will get the ball and be making his way back toward me when he suddenly stops dead, stares off into the distance with a vacant expression on his face, and lets the ball drop out of his mouth to the ground.  Then I have to go over to him, interrupt his reverie and say, “Mickey!  What the heck are you staring at?  There’s nothing out there.”  Then he’ll blink, give his head a bit of a shake, look up at me in surprise and pick up his ball.

But where was I?

Oh yeah, I need to talk to you about a new trend in veterinary psychiatry: Therapy Dog Burnout.  Apparently Therapy Dogs can burn out, just like human caregivers.  So if you have a Therapy Dog, there are some things you need to be doing to make sure it can continue to perform its service to Humanity in general, and college students in particular.  You need to make sure your dog stays in good physical condition and gets lots of chances to do all the stuff regular dogs do such as wallowing in the decomposing carcasses of badgers and maintaining a healthy stool microbiome by nibbling on random pieces of dog poop.  You also might want to make sure your Therapy Dog flosses regularly, with all that face-licking it will be doing.  Just saying.


Every dog has a favorite toy or two, and Therapy Dogs are no exception.  Mickey, for example, has a bee, and also a spider (not shown).  I don’t know what’s up with the insect theme here; if it was left up to me, I would never buy a stuffed bee or spider for my dog.  But at home, these types of decisions are above my pay grade.

Mickey's Bee
Mickey’s Bee


Brinkley, the dog on the right, has possibly just been arrested (note Police Officer on phone in background).  But that’s not my point; my point is that Brinkley too, has a favorite toy that looks like it might be some kind of weird fish.

Brinkley cuddling unidentified toy

And look at that other dog, up at the start of this column.  It has a teddy bear.  It also needs a pedicure.

So it’s pretty clear that you need to make sure your Therapy Dog has at least one toy on hand at all times, to stay at the top of its game.


And while we’re on the topic, apparently there are other Therapy Animals,  including horses, cats, guinea pigs, snakes and parrots already out there ministering to people.  The concept of a Therapy Parrot got me thinking, I have to admit.

Therapy parrots currently not on speaking terms

You: I am so stressed out today.

Your Therapy Parrot:  Awwwk! You’re stressed?  I’m stuck on this perch all day.  Lucy won’t talk to me.  My neck is killing me.  I’m only 5 years old and I’m probably going to live at least another 50 years!  Awwwk!

You: Buck up Polly.  Things could be a lot worse.  You could be a land tortoise.

The idea of a Therapy Cat also works for me, and apparently others, too.  For example, here is an unretouched photo of a  Black Ninja Therapy Cat (on left), hard at work comforting an infant afflicted with Pink Baby Syndrome, by probing its head.  The baby seems to be OK with it though.

cat soothing baby
Black Ninja Therapy Cat in classic soothing/probing pose

But nobody seems to be talking about the possibility that maybe Therapy Dogs should also have their own special Therapy Animals to turn to for comfort, to de-stress and avoid burnout. This is not as far-fetched as you would think. Why couldn’t all these Therapy Animals help each other out?  They could!  Things could get really complicated though, as demonstrated by the following Thought Experiment.  (Remember that Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity was developed when he started thinking about what would happen if you happened to be riding a beam of light.)

Anyway, here goes:

Say you have a Therapy Horse…

Mr. Ed

It eventually starts to show signs of burnout such as obsessively watching Mr. Ed reruns and repetitively neighing a bizarre rendition of  Jimi Hendrix’ “Purple Haze,” so you bring in a Therapy Dog.  hendrix

The Therapy Dog burns out, not only because it’s no picnic babysitting a horse, but also because it hates Jimi Hendrix.  You know all this because the dog has lost  interest in badger carcass-wallowing and poop-gobbling.  Plus it’s laying around all day with its paws over its ears.

Undaunted, you bring in a Therapy Cat to backstop the Therapy Dog, but it too eventually succumbs to the unrelenting stress and starts yowling more-or-less in tune with the horse.  In desperation you recruit a Talk Therapy Parrot.  A Talk Therapy Parrot is pretty much like a regular human therapist but a lot funnier, as it has no filter.  And it’s only a matter of time until the parrot loses it and starts cursing away like a drunken sailor.

You can’t stand all the neighing, moping, ear-covering, slightly off-key yowling, probing and cursing.  You need some peace and quiet.  Logically then, you bring in a nice Therapy Flower such as a Therapy Honeysuckle, to sooth the foul-mouthed Therapy Parrot.


Sooner or later though, the Therapy Honeysuckle needs to be pollinated, so as a last resort you bring in a Therapy Bee.

This turns out to be a genius maneuver; Einstein himself couldn’t have done better.



Therapy Bee:  Hi Honey! (pun intended)  Bzzz. I’m home!

Husband of Therapy Bee:  Bzzz.  Bzzz. How was your day? Bzzz.

Therapy Bee:  Horrible!  Bzzz. My head is so full, it’s buzzing.

Husband of Therapy Bee: Awwww… Bzzz.  Here, let me groom your antennae.

Therapy Bee: Hell no! Bzzz.  I need a drink!!!  Do we have any mead?

Well, quite frankly, this is getting pretty ridiculous so I want to close now, but I’ll leave you with this simple piece of advice about coping with stress:

“Therapy Animals come and go, but just remember that it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.  Especially in the hive.”

Next column: Negative Mass

Posted in zany, offbeat, somewhat silly humor

How To Live To Be At Least One Hundred Years Old

Before I get started it’s probably worth listing some of the loose threads that have been lying around from previous columns.  Bear in mind that listing some of the loose threads might simply be a way to get started without actually saying I’m getting started.  But by then it will be too late to stop.  Anyway…

Some Of The Loose Threads That Are Lying Around From Previous Columns:

-How to tell if you have a Komodo Dragon problem when you’re not a deer

-How to establish yourself as a successful Body Part model

There are lots of ways to tell whether or not you have a Komodo Dragon problem.  First of all, are you more than 985 feet from the closest bush, forest, stand of grass, Quonset hut or anything else that could conceal a 10-foot long lizard?  If the answer is yes, you currently don’t have a Komodo Dragon problem because I read the following gem on a Komodo Dragon fact site: “They are able to see prey and other objects as far as 985 feet away.”  So even if there is one lurking out there somewhere, it can’t see you because you’re too far from it’s lair-unless it has a telescope (or binoculars).  This is unlikely.

Secondly, if you happen to see a Komodo Dragon at close range (say 700 feet), does it look like this?


If so, you can relax.  Despite the sly grin, this is most likely a dead Komodo Dragon.

Are you currently located on any of the Lesser Sunda Islands, namely: Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang or Padar?  If not, you don’t have a Komodo Dragon problem because they don’t live anywhere else except maybe in zoos.


Have you recently (in the last 60 seconds) fallen into the Komodo Dragon enclosure at a zoo?  Are you contemplating climbing into a Komodo Dragon enclosure for some obscure reason known only to you?  If the answer to both these questions is no, once again, I think you probably don’t have a Komodo Dragon issue.

Do you bear any resemblance at all to a juvenile Komodo Dragon? No?  Congratulations!  Your chance of being eaten has just dropped substantially, as adult Komodos routinely eat their young, including nieces and nephews.

Komodo hatchling wondering if it’s more than 985 feet from Mom or Dad or maybe even Uncle Louie.

Finally, do certain aspects of your body stand out? Do you consider your legs, hands or feet to be among your best features?    Do you already lavish inordinate amounts of time on some of your body parts, regularly coating them with expensive lotions and suchlike and protecting them from things like penetrating injuries and the harsh rays of the sun?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, venomous 10-foot lizard carnivores are the least of your concerns.  Instead you need to start worrying about all the time you may have  wasted by NOT already having become a Body Part model.

Q: What is a Body Part model?  Is it something from Forensic Files?

A: No.  A Body Part model, also known as a Closeup model, is like a regular, anorexic model except that he or she only models isolated parts of their body that might have a special quality.  Body Part models appear in ads for things like shoes, fingernail polish, rings and socks.

Q: What about ads for parrots?

A: No.  That’s a ridiculous question.

Q: OK, sorry.  So what are the special qualities we’re talking about here?

A:  We’ll get to that.

Q: (Sigh)  So how do I get started?

A: Take the advice of the good (but marginally literate) folks at UK Models:

“Approach an agency who specialise in this area to understand if your feature is photogenic or not. There is no harm in asking as you could make a living off modelling this body part. Have a look at campaigns that use isolated features and compare the body part to your own to gauge if you will be considered in the niche.”

I am not making this up.  Top Body Part models, secure in their niches, can earn thousands of dollars a day.  It’s a highly-competitive business though, with lots of rules:

Hands –  Flawless, smooth skin with evenly shaped nails.  Hand shape is important.  Male hands should have minimum hair.
Legs  – Smooth, long and shapely.  Skin free of veins, blemishes.  Not overly muscular.
Feet  – Evenly shaped toes and nails.  Free of corns, bunions or other foot blemishes.
Shoe size Should range from size 6-10 for women, and 8-12 for men.
Body – Even skin tone and well-toned, nice muscularity.

I checked out some professional body model images and I have to say that you can certainly tell the difference between an amateur Body Part model and a highly-trained professional Body Part model.

Professional Hand model featured in recent ad for iPhone
Amateur Hand model badly in need of a manicure (and glasses)

All I can say is that there are a lot of strange things going on in this world.  Even if you live to be at least one hundred, you won’t see half of them.

How To Live To Be At Least One Hundred:

Choose healthy parents.

Avoid falling asleep outdoors on any of these islands: Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, Padar.

Don’t tell any of your descendants how much money you’re going to leave them in your will.

Move to the island of Okinawa; there are more centenarians per 100,000 people on Okinawa than anywhere else in the world.

“Eat like a raw egg or something every day.”

-longevity tip from anonymous fifteen-year old

Laugh regularly.  Research has shown that adults who see humor in life are 35% more likely to live a longer life than those who do not.

If you don’t have a sense of humor, get one.  And if you don’t have a sense of humor,  why are you even reading this column?  Go read The Economist or something.

Get a therapy dog.

Keep your hands and feet perfectly groomed at all times.  You never know!  Your Body Part modeling career might be waiting for you just around the corner…If a Komodo Dragon doesn’t get you first.

Next column: How to have a successful career as a therapy dog.

Therapy dog taking a break from its stress-relieving duties to scan perimeter for large lizards